Talent Scout: Seydou Doumbia, CSKA Moscow
Saturday 31 December 2011
As the final preparations are made ahead of the forthcoming African Cup of Nations finals, few coaches are feeling the pressure like Ivory Coast boss François Zahoui, who knows he must deliver success to one of the continents perennial underachievers.
The Éléphants have only won the AFCON title once, back in 1992, but with such a dearth of talent available to them, the need to end the trophy drought is stronger than ever. Key to this years challenge will be star names like Manchester City's Yaya Touré and Arsenal's Gervinho , as well as talismanic captain and chief goalscorer Dider Drogba . However, amid all the recognisable faces, there will be one little known front man looking to steal Drogba 's lime light, and fire the Ivory Coast to silverware.
He's CSKA Moscow striker Seydou Doumbia , who celebrates his 24th birthday today, having scored 24 goals in 30 games so far this term. It's just an example of his exciting scoring prowess, which, despite being recognised with a Russian Footballer of the Year award last week, is yet to tempt one of Europe's elite into acquiring his services.
But biding his time is nothing new for Doumbia ; his career has been all about a mixture of travelling and battling, in search for the best opportunities. Born in the up market; coastal town of Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, he joined Athlétic Adjamé aged nine, before quickly moving through the ranks. He would go on to Toumodi FC on loan, before a switch to Denguélé allowed Doumbia the chance to flourish. He scored 15 goals in his début campaign, before an agent helped do a deal with J-League outfit Kashiwa Reysol . It was a sideways step.
Doumbia would struggle at Reysol , but still scored three times, while a loan move to Tokushima Vortis helped his adaptation further, until Swiss side Young Boys were put onto his promise. It was a club that put his developed back on track, and after repaying the faith with 50 goals in two seasons, a switch to the wealthy Russian Premier League with CSKA Moscow followed in January 2010.
Since then, Doumbia has continued his adaptation into a more rounded European forward, where he seems to improve week-by-week. Now, the forthcoming AFCON represents a perfect chance for interested parties to take a closer look, in a forward who has the raw abilities to fit most league's and styles.
Doumbia is a natural and instinctive striker, who thrives on unsettling defences with his speed, power and direct running style. He's often found lurking on the shoulder of the defender, where he can run in behind or find space to feed off scraps in the box. He's a real handful for any defender, but despite being five foot 10 inches tall, can't be snuffed out by the physical side. In fact, he has excellent strength, and more than holds his own.
In terms of other qualities, Doumbia is a hard worker, has intelligent movement, always finds spaces in the box, and can also drift wide and dribble the ball when necessary. However, this is a player all about scoring goals, and that's where his true talents shine through. In front of goal, he has good composure, is a confident and clinical finisher and can be explosive in tight situations. In the air, he's not the biggest, but attacks the ball well and has a good conversion rate.
Doumbia needs to work on aspects of his game such as his over reliance on his right foot, positional discipline and his link up play with team-mates, but all the signs are good.
Overall, Doumbia is not a technical all round centre forward, but a wily goal poacher, who knows how to unsettle defenders with his pace, power, strength and movement, while also having the clinical skills to finish chances off. He's a real handful, and used correctly, could prove to be the key piece in the Ivory Coast jigsaw next month.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food